Barrington commission chooses skatepark as top priority grant

Splash pad grant will rank second

By Josh Bickford
Posted 12/1/23

Skatepark or splash pad?

That was the question members of the Barrington Park and Recreation Commission considered during their recent meeting. Commission Chairman Mike Seward had asked the …

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Barrington commission chooses skatepark as top priority grant

Splash pad grant will rank second

Posted

Skatepark or splash pad?

That was the question members of the Barrington Park and Recreation Commission considered during their recent meeting. Commission Chairman Mike Seward had asked the group to prioritize two grant applications to the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management — one application was for a grant to expand the splash pad at Police Cove Park, while the other was to build a new skatepark in the lot behind the Barrington Town Hall. 

After a brief discussion, members ranked the skatepark grant first and the splash pad second.

Seward said he was working with Barrington Town Planner Teresa Crean to complete the skatepark grant application, adding that DEM officials ask communities that are filing more than one grant application to rank them in order of priority. 

Seward then said the skatepark would rank second, as town officials had approved applying for the splash pad grant earlier than the skatepark grant.

But Commission member Tom Rimoshytus said the recommendation or rank was up to the Park and Recreation Commission and not the decision of the Town Manager. 

Commission member Catherine Horn said the splash pad grant included safety and security upgrades, including the installation of a new fence. Rimoshytus said the town already had the money put aside for a new fence at the splash pad. They’re going to do that anyway, he said. 

Seward told Commission members that the chances Barrington would be awarded the $280,000 grant for a new skatepark were really low anyway. A moment later, he conceded that members could vote on how they would like to rank the grant applications. 

Seward also said he believes the splash pad is adequate the way it is, and Rimoshytus asked how much money the town spent annually on the water bill for the splash pad. Some said the bill was around $9,000 although one official said it was more than that. 

Dean Brockway, an assistant harbormaster with the town, attended the meeting to discuss a different issue but offered some information about the splash pad. Brockway — who is often at Police Cove Park, as it where the harbor patrol keeps its boat — said the splash pad is busy but never overcrowded. 

A few minutes later, Rimoshytus made a motion to rank the skatepark grant application as the top priority and the splash pad application second. Anthony Arico seconded the motion. Members voted unanimously to approve the motion.

Splash pad motion

During the Oct. 2 Barrington Town Council meeting, Town Manager Phil Hervey spoke in favor of the splash pad enhancements. In a memo to the Council, Hervey wrote that the town was prepared to engage the firm VHB to provide a concept and cost estimate for the splash pad work. 

He wrote that the Council has allocated $35,000 in American Rescue Plan Act funds for the improvements; that amount would reportedly be enough to meet the 20 percent local match needed for the DEM grant. 

"The splash pad is very popular on hot days, especially among families with small kids," Hervey wrote. "It also is used by the Town about once a week for summer camps. But it can become crowded, as it occupies just a small portion of the concrete plaza behind the seawall. The goal will be to expand the splash pad into the adjacent grass area to provide additional splash pad features, while keeping the water overall usage roughly the same."

After a brief discussion, the Town Council voted in favor of the grant application.

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